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Monday, November 16, 2015

How many Syrian refugees is too many? UPDATED

Greetings from the Big Easy, New Orleans, where I will be spending the next three days in business meetings. It's been 34 years since I was last here, and that trip lasted for less than 24 hours, so I'm looking forward to this.

Here in New Orleans, Republican Gubernatorial candidate David Vitter has said that Syrian refugees are not welcome.
“President Obama’s ‎plan to bring 10,000 Syrian refugees to the U.S. – just like his statement made a day before the Paris attacks that ISIS was ‘contained’ — is outrageous and irresponsible,” Vitter said in a statement today. “That’s exactly how at least one, maybe more of the Paris terrorists got there.  These Syrians have already started arriving in Louisiana. That needs to stop immediately, and I will continue to lead that fight and protect the people of Louisiana.”
Vitter, of course, is referring to the Hayride‘s breaking report more than a week ago that Syrian refugees had began coming to New Orleans and that many more were expected to arrive in the coming months.
Vitter, who has been staunchly fighting illegal immigration and sanctuary cities in the state like New Orleans and Lafayette Parish, took to Facebook yesterday to say that as governor he will shut down sanctuary cities.
So how many Syrians are there in New Orleans? According to this blog post, 13.
Despite blog posts and social media rumors indicating that thousands of Syrian refugees had already arrived in the New Orleans area, the U.S. State Department reported only 14 Syrian nationals have resettled in Louisiana since Jan. 1. 
The State Department's Refugee Processing Center handled three cases, settling seven refugees in Kenner, six in New Orleans and one in Baton Rouge, a spokesperson said.
Seven Syrian refugees arrived in Louisiana in April, and another resettled in June.  Six more refugees arrived in November, according to processing center data.
I get the locals. Why should they have responsibility for refugees from the other side of the world, many of whom may not be Syrians and might be ISIS plants.

And I have to tell you that two different people have warned me not to walk the streets alone at night. Hmmm.


Breitbart.com reports that Republican Presidential candidate and governor Bobby Jindal has gotten into the act.
The 2016 GOP presidential contender framed his demands in the context of the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday. He wrote:
Last week, the city of New Orleans began receiving its first wave of Syrian refugees. As with former immigration crises and federal relocation policy, Louisiana has been kept in the dark about those seeking refuge in the state. It is irresponsible and severely disconcerting to place individuals, who may have ties to ISIS, in a state without the state’s knowledge or involvement.
As Governor of Louisiana, I demand information about the Syrian refugees being placed in Louisiana in hopes that the night of horror in Paris is not duplicated here.
Jindal demanded information about whether “additional protections and screenings will be put in place,” particularly following the Paris attacks and the discovery “that some of those responsible…held Syrian passports.”
Additionally, Jindal demands to know the level of background screening conducted on the Syrian refugees, and whether “all Syrian refugees seeking relocation in the United States will now be cleared by the Terrorist Screening Center?”
Finally, Jindal expects to receive information about the level of monitoring of the refugees that will be conducted once they are placed in Louisiana.
“As Americans, we embolden freedom and opportunity to the rest of the world, but by opening up our borders and refusing to collaborate or share information with states, you are threatening that reality,” Jindal writes, telling the president “it would be prudent to pause the process of refugees coming to the United States. Authorities need to investigate what happened in Europe before this problem comes to the United States.”
This post has been corrected - I thought Vitter was the Governor already when I wrote the original post.

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